Today it was announced that the arbitrator, Kenneth Dam, has sided with the NBPA, and that NBA players who are waived retain their birds rights when they are claimed. This ruling was about as unlikely as if Eddy Curry was given the NBA Finals MVP last night.
This means wonderful things if your a Knick fan! Famed point guard Jeremy Lin and sharpshooter Steve Novak will now be allowed to resign contracts with The Knicks without it effecting our Mid-Level and Bi-annual exceptions. The exceptions will therefore be available to use on veteran talent within Free Agency that likely wouldn’t have signed veteran minimum contracts.
Long shot names like Lamar Odom, Steve Nash, and Jason Kidd, while still being a challenge to sign, are now a real possibility. This new found money can be spent in many different ways, but the Knicks’ Front Office must be careful. They are only 3 million dollars away from being faced with harsh taxes, and they will likely spend that 3 million quickly so it better be worth it.
More good news: Today is June 22nd, which means there are only 4 days left until J.R. Smith has to decide if he will pick up his player option. My gut is he will, as he has waited this long, and it is in his best interest due to the large amount of guards in Free Agency.
If we add J.R., Lin, and Novak to our current signed roster that pretty much equals our talent from last season. Not to mention that it is almost a lock that Jared Jefferies re-signs for his veterans minimum contract. In other words, we can essentially only be better than last season depending on who we add in Free Agency.
Lesser names that are now available due to our newly allotted exceptions include: Raymond Felton, Aaron Brooks (restricted), Andre Miller, Goran Dragic, Ray Allen, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, and Kenyon Martin.
It is too soon to speculate which of these many avenues the Knicks will choose to go. The draft may shed some light on the situation as we will have to wait and see what area of their needs they cover. It is also unclear if they are planning on trading up in the draft.
At this point I can tell all of you are getting into that classic Knick Fan state of mind where you get overly excited and start to make plans in your head (see Lebron James fiasco), so I must warn you: The NBA will be appealing the decision that was made by Dam.
There is still a chance that this will be over turned, and as my colleague, Scott Davis, pointed out in his article, “because it’s The Knicks and it’s David Stern…that’s just what happens.” Commish Stern does have a tendency to cause controversy, and everyone with a brain knows that he will not take this lying down.
But. That’s a story for a different day. Today is a celebratory day. Go buy yourself something nice.